A few months ago a mentor told me I could benefit from defining my relationship with social media. I tend towards "all or none" sometimes. "None" it was. June and most of July have been social media free with the exception of a few times. It really was transformational. Disconnecting has helped me connect. I have been peeking at it once a day for the last week because of a situation I wanted to keep up with. It has affected me in a very negative way. Therefore I am quite intentionally defining my relationship before ending this period of digitally detoxing and feeling free to re-engage.
What does it look like for me to have a healthy productive life on the web?
Here is my plan:
~Very limited posting. Being honest with myself about whether I am trying to support my community or my ego.
~To read only the pages of groups I am currently active in.
~To NOT read comments of threads that do not directly relate to me. What a waste of time!
~To check in 2 times per day or less. Once mid morning and once early evening.
~To completely disengage on weekends.
I wish I wasn't so empathetic and didn't feel completely heartbroken every time I see certain things. I wish I could use this amazing tool to connect with others while not disconnecting from my own heart. I wish I had not chosen to look at a screen for, what statistics say the average is, over 2 hours a day. How sad is that? That means that in the 7 years I have had Facebook I have spent over 5000 hours mindlessly scrolling. Wishing I had chosen differently. Enough wishing.
I love my life, the real one. Even with hardships that I don't tend to share on social media. Spending time with people, recognizing the benefit of seeing the expression in their eyes. Knowing the sarcasm is humor, not a weapon. I love political debates that are finished with hugs. My friends do not define me nor themselves by political views. Never would we think or say "If you are ____, I'm un-friending you". I have never liked to feel like I have to hide who I really am to be considered a friend. I'm lucky enough to have friends, old and new, that embrace the diversity of thought that makes life fun.
Why am I bothering to post this personal reflection? Because the change I have felt in my life over the summer has been worth sharing. We have become a society losing ourselves to screens. There are too many situations existing only on Facebook yet wreaking emotional havoc and causing anxiety and depression.
If you cannot unplug for 24 hours you may be addicted. Are you honest with yourself about it? Have you tried it? See if you can take a 24 hour break and journal about what it feels like. Every time you want to get on ask yourself "why?". Keep asking "why" until you get to the root issue. If "why?" is that you are bored, maybe question why being bored is a bad thing?
Let's make changes, things like coffee dates, maybe even before work. Let's ask each other how we really are, and then provide a safe place for honest answers. Without change we will continue to grow towards complete polarization and false connection. I want better for the next generation. I will be part of the solution. Will you?